Mid Sussex MP welcomes ten principles set out for funding NHS

Mid Sussex MP Sir Nicholas Soames
Mid Sussex MP Sir Nicholas Soames

Mid Sussex MP Sir Nicholas Soames has welcomed the ten principles set out for the long-term funding of the NHS.

He has signed a letter to Prime Minister Theresa May, ahead of Jeremy Hunt’s MPs and Secretary of State for Health and Social Care’s plans for funding to be announced in the summer.

He said: “I am very pleased that the Prime Minister responded so positively to the submission and that the Government, which has already committed £10billion in new funding for the NHS since last November alone, is going to set out some really radical plans.

“Without a new approach the current funding of the NHS is unsustainable. The Government is to come forward with a long-term plan for funding the NHS, in advance of next year’s Spending Review, to ensure that the NHS can cope with rising demand.

“I also welcome the acknowledgement by the Secretary of State that the new plan must turbo charge progress in spreading the Excellence which exists in many parts of the system across the whole of the NHS.”

The ten principles are:

1. The NHS must remain a universal tax-funded service, available free at the point of delivery, based on need not ability to pay.

2. Spending on the NHS and the publicly-funded element of social care will need to increase by substantially more than inflation over the next 20 years owing to an ageing population, new treatments and technologies, and the drive to achieve equality of access to treatment for those with mental ill health

3. Data science and AI, the integration of services and investment in public health and preventative healthcare all have the potential to improve outcomes for people and to improve the productivity of the NHS but will not be sufficient to prevent the need for increased funding.

4. 4. People are more likely to be willing to pay more for the NHS and social care if they can be certain that additional resources are dedicated to that end and cannot be diverted into other government programmes. Conversely, continuing to fund rising demand for the NHS and social care out of general taxation – without a dedicated/ring-fenced funding stream – distorts other important Government funding priorities.

5. National Insurance should be renamed National Health and Care Insurance and all of the funds it generates should be paid into a publicly run National Health and Care Fund (with separate funds for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.)

6. The Treasury should pay contributions into the National Health and Care Funds on behalf of people of working age who are unemployed or economically inactive.

7. Contributions to National Health and Care Insurance should be progressive, and fair between the generations – with higher earners, the self employed, and better off pensioners making a fair contribution to funding for the NHS and social care.

8. National Health and Care Insurance should be charged on unearned income, as well as on income earned after the state pension age at rates to be agreed.

9. Every 5 years there should be an independent assessment carried out by the Office for Budget Responsibility (or a separate body focused specifically on the NHS and social care) of the resources needed to run the NHS and social care. This should lead to a public debate with Parliament setting the rates and thresholds for National Health and Care Insurance for the next five years.

10. The UK Treasury should stand behind the National Health and Care Funds, underwriting any temporary deficits or longer-term debts.